dalsaan

On not investing in drama - yours or other people's

66 posts in this topic

Tilly,

  

 

Thanks for your thoughtful post and engagement on this issue.  Given I used the word drama in the first place, I would like to respond to what you have said.  I think both terms can go together if we understand trauma to be the underlying cause and drama, acting out, to be the outward manifestation.   

 

Dalsaan

Hi Dalsaan,

 

I disagree. As stated previously in my response to Meime:

 

''Acting out'' is a pseudo term (often coined by Freud who also believed in hysteria - mania of any women with a womb which is now commonly known as conversion disorder) that denigrates the experience of the recipient of trauma. It suggests a level of fakeness, exaggeration and blames the victim for the distress that they experience subjectively due their inability to integrate trauma in a socially acceptable way.

 

Tilly

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Hi Meime,

 

My understanding of the definition and experience of trauma and my working knowledge of it incorporates a lifelong struggle with the impact of such trauma. ''Acting out'' is a pseudo term (often coined by Freud who also believed in hysteria - mania of any women with a womb which is now commonly known as conversion disorder) that denigrates the experience of the recipient of trauma. It suggests a level of fakeness, exaggeration and blames the victim for the distress that they experience subjectively due their inability to integrate trauma in a socially acceptable way.

 

A traumatised person may experience emotional disturbances and behavioural changes for a limited time or throughout their life, depending on the support that they can access on an ongoing, consistent basis. Not enablement, but support characterised by empathy, honesty and empowerment at a pace commensurate with individuals ability to adapt to change.

 

In my experience of working with traumatized client groups, I worked within an outcome management model of change focused around gauging the impact of medication, therapeutic interventions, maximising financial income, housing and social networks on individuals with severe and enduring mental health problems (those exceeding two years of medication). The most significant catalyst for change was to be engaged in an ongoing, positive network of support as I discussed in the previous paragraph.

 

At no point in my post did I suggest that it was at all acceptable or healthy to personally take on the issues of others. I believe this is neither healthy to the sufferer or person trying to help if it is beyond the scope of their ability to help. In this case, signposting to crises services is of great help, to both acknowledge distress and provide an appropriately qualified outlet for it.

 

This is a peer support group. I feel that we should support our peers as best we can. If you are in not direct therapy with a client, I believe it is best to avoid psycho social / therapeutic assessment of them without the due process of assessment and qualification to do so. Therapeutic modalities, effectiveness and ethics vary greatly and are best not prescribed in any case, let alone in this context.

 

Tilly

 

I didn't put that connotation on it.  I described 'acting out' as the outward manifestation of trauma.   I do not undertake psycho/social assessments of people, I refer them to in person support.   I appreciate that your training may mean you read my contributions in that way.  My posts are concerned with behaviours that encourage people to invest in heavily emotionally charged engagements and I have encouraged people to reflect on what this means for the person posting and those responding.

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As a non-professional, I use the term "acting out" to refer to people acting out their issues rather than speaking them out. For example, my daughter, adopted in China at 13 months, received her first Asian doll shortly before she turned 3. And I started finding her slapping it in the face. That to me is "acting out", and to this day I see her go on and on with much emotion and irritating speech until someone verbally "slaps the baby."

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Whether the person is "acting out" from trauma or any other psychological conflict, this is still a site for going off psychiatric drugs, not a general mental health support site. We do not have the resources to help people resolve their underlying psychological problems, particularly if whatever behavior or processing they're going through online involves creating drama that is disruptive to the community as a whole.

 

If you wish to live drug-free, you absolutely must learn to manage your psychological symptoms without drugs, or you will either continue to be ruled by your internal conflict or eventually go back to drugs.

 

We are happy to help people get off drugs, and we'd like to see them live drug-free having learned something valuable from a difficult experience, not having their worst lifelong habits of mind reinforced by participation here.

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Hi Dalsaan & Meime  :)

 

I guess that what I said initially about language / terminology being interpreted differently cross culturally is evident here.

 

Maybe my experience of the use of the term 'acting out' in work settings with individuals and groups has made me reluctant to use this term as it was often used to negatively reference, primarily, the behaviour of traumatized women and vulnerable children who were often labeled with psychiatric diagnoses and medicated as a consequence to bring their behaviour into line with what was considered socially acceptable.

 

This is a dangerous practice, as behavioural changes, particularly in children, are often indicators of abuse which needs to be picked up on as opposed to suppressed. I believe that any change in behaviour is an indicator that something needs to be addressed on a deeper level as opposed to being shut down.

 

This can be / is done here from what I see, by offering peer support or signposting to crisis services and which keeps both the person suffering safe and this community, which is vulnerable due to the nature of this site.

 

I was concious of the use of terminology in this post and timelines being discussed in relation to recovery of different people.

 

A lot of psychological terminology has been assimilated into everyday language without full consideration of the impact of it's origins and impact on others. Jargon, from my perspective, often lacks compassion, is subject to misinterpretation and has the potential to oversimplify very complex situations.

 

Maybe all of the above is why the use of the word drama jarred me initially. 

 

Tilly 

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Whether the person is "acting out" from trauma or any other psychological conflict, this is still a site for going off psychiatric drugs, not a general mental health support site. We do not have the resources to help people resolve their underlying psychological problems, particularly if whatever behavior or processing they're going through online involves creating drama that is disruptive to the community as a whole.

 

If you wish to live drug-free, you absolutely must learn to manage your psychological symptoms without drugs, or you will either continue to be ruled by your internal conflict or eventually go back to drugs.

 

We are happy to help people get off drugs, and we'd like to see them live drug-free having learned something valuable from a difficult experience, not having their worst lifelong habits of mind reinforced by participation here.

Hi Alto  :)

 

I am in total agreement that this is a peer support withdrawal site and not a site that should be relied upon for psychological support services that people here are neither qualified or safe to provide. This was part of the point that I was trying to make, I am sorry I did not express this clearly. This is probably due to my own current level of functioning.

 

As with all sites & services in general, a clear purpose and boundaries are crucial to the achievement of the aims of such services and safety of those using it. 

 

Again I agree that management of psychological symptoms and growth is crucial to withdrawing and living drug free. Not to mention the cornerstone of a good quality of life in general.

 

The intention of my post was not to criticise the service provided here, which I perceive to be unique and invaluable. I have nothing but a positive experience of the purpose and function of this site.

 

As stated previously, this site is used by people worldwide by a sensitised user group. Therefore, I see the use of language as particularly important. 

 

I was concious of the use of terminology in this post. A lot of psychological terminology has been assimilated into everyday language without full consideration of the impact of it's origins and impact on others. Jargon, from my perspective, often lacks compassion, is subject to misinterpretation and has the potential to oversimplify very complex situations.

 

Such complex situations may require specialist support, which is where signposting comes in as an appropriate response to safeguard all users of this site.

 

I do not believe that collusion with negative behaviour patterns is either productive or kind to anyone. Again we are in agreement on this point.

 

My only other quibble was the discussion of timelines in relation to the (psychological) recovery of different people. As with the model here for drug withdrawal, I believe that everyone recovers at different paces depending on factors mentioned in my previous post. 

 

Crises will arise in both drug withdrawal and psychological healing. Some will be appropriately dealt with here and some may require additional professional support outside of this site.

 

These are my thoughts on this subject. Not at all definitive or prescriptive. I am happy to be part of a community where I can express my thoughts openly.

 

Tilly

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There is no timeline for healing from withdrawal syndrome. People sometimes post their theories about milestones at 6 months or whatever, but we haven't seen any evidence for that.

 

As for terminology -- it's difficult to communicate without using some kind of common language. "Drama" is about as neutral as one can get in describing certain types of disruptive behavior that's inappropriate to this site. "Acting out" is a bit of jargon, but helpful in describing the dynamic involved -- a person feels psychological pressure, but translates that into public behavior to get attention.

 

You may have personal associations with these terms that others do not have. I agree that women and children tend to be dismissed and "medicalized" rather than understood, the actions disturb me greatly, but I do not have emotional associations with the terms used.

 

(The terms themselves are neutral regarding age and gender. The recent mass shooters in the US are clearly young men who could be said to be "acting out" or "dramatizing" sexual frustration in a horrifically destructive fashion -- they planned the attacks specifically because they felt like failures with women.)

 

Tilly, as you seem to understand what we're saying, how would you phrase it in neutral, non-triggering language that everyone can understand?

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I'm no professional, but isn't the origin of drama - the theatre, even - sacred play?

 

 

In Ancient Greece and before, drama was used to connect the people to the stories of the Gods, to teach and instruct about religion.  Later, it was used to connect people to the emotions of common stories, to teach and instruct about morals and social structures.  In tribal cultures worldwide, masks of the gods were worn at sacred celebrations around the fire to frighten, to induce awe and respect, to enforce the code of the tribe.  The drama masks are not fake; they are the beginnings of archetypes. 

 

 

Behind the drama mask, it was safe to "act out" anything.  The entire spectrum of emotions were sacredly expressed on the stage.  For entertainment, surely, but for instruction as well. 

 

 

I appreciate, Tilly, your protection of the abused women and children behind the hammer of "dramatic acting out."  I believe, as I think you do, that these traumatised souls need to be given voices, not told to "shut up" and "play nice."  

 

 

Children, when they play, try on different roles.  Mommy, daddy, shopkeeper, teacher, pilot, policeman, fireman, invading alien, soldier, princess.  This play - while less common now because of internet and media exposure - was for learning.  

 

 

As a survival mechanism, on a very basic level, the abused wife must wear her "Mom mask" around her children, even when she is crying inside at what is happening to her, to her life.  A traumatized child wears the "school mask," the "pleaser masks," or the "bully mask," the "sick mask," or any number of roles, in order to cope and survive.  This drama, as MeiMei said it, helps them "act out" their feelings - whether to get attention, or to process the difficulty of what has happened / is happening to them.  Many of these attention grabbing patterns last into adulthood, as survival mechanisms.

 

 

As we become adults, we have learned to gather those around us who best support our image of ourselves.  Sometimes we come to identify with the masks, “this is who I am,” unable to recognize that it is merely a mechanism to survive the pain and fear inflicted upon me. 

 

 

CERTAINLY, it is not the role of a site such as this to analyze, or even help people with their survival mechanisms.  But it is the role of this site to keep a safe space while people come off their drugs, and learn or re-learn how to cope in the world without them.

 

 

Most of us here are very sensitive, and some of us are extremely impressionable, and many of us are young.  I don't know what dramas / movies / plays most clearly represent the aims of the site.  But let's just say it's the Wizard of Oz, and we all just want to get back home to Kansas. 

 

 

When some people start collecting Jason Halloween masks, and dwelling on the pain and the horror and scaring each other, it may serve a certain self-identity, and even be an attempt at survival.  But it is disruptive to the other various journeys that people are taking, and it can be damaging to the safe place Alto has created here.

 

 

ABSOLUTELY, the Wicked Witch and the Flying Monkeys are a very real and frightening part of the Yellow Brick Road experience.  SURELY, we need to talk about them (and those darned poppies!).  We need to learn how to deal with them, how to face them, how and when to expect the horrors of what happens in withdrawal as well as on the drugs.

 

 

But I see the focus on the horrors - the Exorcist, Halloween, the Creature Features - as strong, pulling distractions from the Yellow Brick Road, and damage the safety that has been created here.  This is where professional help is needed, to help these people find a brighter, better way of surviving their pain, their fear, their anger.  This is where we, as SA mods encourage people to get local help, to make local face-to-face contact with healers, counselors, friends, family, and support groups.  Surely, we try and tell them - the Yellow Brick Road is over here! and encourage them to come back from their field of horror and pain - but there's only so much we can do.

 

 

In my own story, I used to have to create dramas in order to learn.  We called that "learning the hard way."  And some people need that - especially at certain times in their lives.  But I also learned (the hard way) that the dramas I created hurt other people, damaged relationships, and were self-destructive - not self-serving at all!  It felt like it at the time - to try on that drama mask, to be the "pretty one," the "exciting one," the "wild one," the "powerful one," any number of dramatic roles I've played in exploring my humanity.  And like so many humans, I gathered those around me who could buy into the masks, feed this dramatic self-identity.  (Though I clearly remember one friend – a true friend – who told me, “But this is all so – dramatic!”)  After looking at the ruins of my life and the damage to the lives around me - it didn't feel so good.  Eventually, I learned that life throws us enough drama without stirring it up.

 

 

So I suggest that it's not even the drama which is being protested here - because there are natural dramas which will play out in the course of living.  But the stirring it up - the pounding of the drum on the community, of threats and pain and misery - becomes wearing, eroding, and eventually damaging to the community at large.

 

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This thread has given me much food for thought as I am a newcomer here and just starting to connect the dots to why I am feeling the way I'm feeling.  I didn't even realize that I was in withdrawal!  With no help from my GP, I thought I was going insane and now I see that I exaggerated all the stresses in my life.  This thread has made me reflect on why I seem to dwell on everything negative that happens to me.  Drama seems to follow me.  I am a teacher and everything that a parent wants me to do for their child seems to be magnified in ways that I just can't deal with "another problem!"  Teaching is a stressful job as it is with increasing levels of ESL and special needs students with lack of support and government cutback and increased parent expectations.  Now, multiply that by all my neuro-emotions and I have continuous drama at work.  No one wants to be around me in the staff room.  I eat by myself.  These should be my glory days as I am less than 6 years away from retirement.  As it is I don't feel like I will make it to collect my pension.  But this thread is helping me to step outside of myself a bit and try and look at not blowing everything out of proportion.  Just do it, and don't complain about it and then try to forget about it.  To me, this is hard, as it is a daily occurrence, so I don't expect to be perfect, but I didn't really look at what may be a warped sense of reality until I found this forum two days ago.  Thank you to all who posted in this thread.  You have me thinking.....and being hopeful that I can begin to change my stress levels.  

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You're welcome, Goodname.

 

We're not saying "stuff your feelings and forget about them" but to keep things in proportion -- don't exaggerate the negative for dramatic effect. Seems like you've got the basic idea!

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I would like to bring up another aspect of drama, one that concerns me very much.

 

This is when people exaggerate their symptoms for effect or for attention.

 

Now, it could be the person is naturally very theatrical, or in their family environment have to make a lot of noise just to get heard. Or, the person might have florid habits of expression that are more attractive in person. People vary in their personalities, that's what makes them fun and interesting to be around.

 

But people are doing something here that involves some risk, their health and well-being is at stake, and it's very, very important that anyone tapering or dealing with withdrawal syndrome maintain a balanced view of their symptoms -- and not exaggerate them.

 

This is not only for the person's own self-care, as you can easily make your symptoms worse by obsessing over them or stoking your fears of catastrophe. It is also because I and the staff need accurate information to make informed guesses about what might help.

 

When someone joins us and starts a long history of over-dramatization of symptoms and clamors for attention by various means, that makes me nervous. I worry that I might not be able to understand the person's situation and help the best way I can. Dramatizing, catastrophizing, and making an uproar for attention means possibly not providing accurate information as the basis for next steps.

 

This is dangerous and worries me terribly. Tapering is not easy. I would rather the person not take on the challenge of tapering than go into the process with an attitude or habit of expression that will magnify every little bump into a disaster. This is not good for anyone.

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I hope that I didn't, as a new member, do here what you are saying some do, Alto.  

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Not at all, Goodname. Your topic How to talk to loved ones was very honest and very constructive.

 

This topic refers to members whose behavior truly stands out, perhaps one in a hundred.

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Hi everyone,

 

I think this has been a great Topic with excellent discussion.  In my short time as a member of this forum and reading many posts, I have found the response's by Staff to be excellently worded.

 

Something I have thought of, and it relates to something I have read (possibly in this thread) is about people doing other things besides being on the computer and in the forum.  I think that sometimes people don't have anything to talk about besides their current state of well-being (or I should say, lack of) so I would agree with this suggestion of (what I will term) "living your life" (to the best of our individual ability at the current time) whilst going through whatever it is, and this can be transferred to other areas of life where we have issues and we should still be living our life.

 

Thank you for such a fantastic support site.  I am amazed at how many people have joined since I did.

 

Regards,

CC

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I think there's a distinction to be drawn here between the people who work on this site and peers.

 

I wholeheartedly agree that staff who guide and try their best to plot a helpful route for each individual need facts and compliance with their suggestions or at the very least honest feedback. It is risky to advise people who are experiencing withdrawal and it's important to get the facts straight.

 

However, in terms of peer support, we have a different role to play. I appreciate that staff haven't time for excessive emotional validation and that this is not the purpose of this site, but maybe as peers, kindness and empathy is something we can offer?

 

It goes a long way and validation matters when the world outside is telling you that withdrawal is a figment of your imagination.

 

It's a tricky balance to achieve on a site like this....but a big part of the picture.

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I don't believe these things have to be mutually exclusive. It's possible to show care and empathy, without diving into the trauma. We don't have to join in the limiting beliefs or help perpetuate them. But we can still show compassion. We don't have to be harsh or judgmental when people step over a boundary. But what I find deeply puzzling is how 2 different people can post similar things, and they are treated markedly different. I'm finding myself very reluctant to post honestly about some things on my thread at the moment because of this.

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The difference is in the history - how many times a person stepped over a boundary, to what extend they take steps to improve their wellbeing as opposed to seeking sympathy for how they feel and the degree to which they have a history of perpetuating very negative framings - catastrophizing, fatalism, extreme hopelessness and helplessness.   These things are not conducive to wellbeing for the poster themselves or the community.   To saying nothing is to tacitly condone and perpetuating these framings.  To say the same thing in response - over and over again - is not only ineffective, its also dementing. Saying you support them in this is deeply disabling.

 

But I wont be engaging anymore.  I wish everyone the best

 

Dalsaan

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The difference you might see, freespirit, is that some people demand more attention than others -- as dalsaan explained. I mean demand in the sense of doing whatever they can to get more attention, including exaggerating probably normal day-to-day bumps to major emergencies, causing turmoil, and sending pms to get the staff's attention.

 

The people who depend on drama to get attention think they have a greater need than anyone else, notwithstanding the severity of their symptoms. This is a habit of social communication, possibly based in deep emotional pain beyond anything having to do with psychiatric drugs, that is exhausting to the staff and bad for the community.

 

I think I can speak for every person on the staff when I say we have compassion for each and every person here. But some people have habits of disruptive behavior and we will treat them differently. They must respect the boundaries we deem necessary to sustain a healthy community, or they cannot participate here.

 

No one here, peers or staff, can give these people the nurturing that might change their lives. We do not provide psychotherapeutic services by peers or staff. That would be a legal, ethical, and emotional morass. (When members offer e-mail or phone support to the emotionally neediest, it often ends badly.)

 

As the site has grown, people of all different casts of mind have joined, some unknowingly destructive to themselves and others -- a tendency that might have propelled them toward psychiatric treatment in the first place. The staff has had to come to grips with this. If you cannot see the invisible lines we have to draw, you'll have to trust and respect us on this.

 

This topic has become repetitious, so I'm going to close it for a while. Thank you to everyone who has participated.

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I can see this discussion has caused a great deal of confusion for some of our members.
 
After a great deal of thought, I have codified the issue in the  What will get you warned or banned policy topic -- see below.
 
"Drama" can take extreme forms, such as repeated threats of suicide, alcohol binges, taking street drugs, or doing something that causes you to go to the hospital. Repeated emergencies like these arise from a tendency to self-harm.
 
We all do dumb things. Quite often, someone will sheepishly post that, out of desperation, he or she took a prescription drug or supplement and had a bad experience. We discuss how the nervous system can get sensitized to neuroactive drugs, the person learns this, and moves forward in their understanding of self-care. I am very, very proud of the many who have done this.
 
On the other hand, very occasionally a member seems to be unable to learn this despite multiple missteps. Not only that, but the missteps are reported as emergencies -- creating drama from a mistake.
 
As discussed in great detail above, some members get deeply involved in "rescuing" the hapless person. We all wish we could stop the person from hurting themselves, but this may be beyond the capacity of Internet friends or even people close to the person in real life.
 
As anyone who has had a close relationship with an alcoholic knows, saving a person from themselves can be a task that can take over your own life and well-being. (This is why this topic starts with a caution not to get involved in such support here -- it will set back your own healing.)
 
Among other members, these dramatic crises are triggering, causing turmoil and tension throughout the site. People who are fragile move to their own dark places. There is a domino effect. At one time recently, we had 5 people threatening suicide. The atmosphere of the site moves from hopeful to fearful.
 
Following the threads related to the uproar creates a great deal of work and stress for the staff.
 
Repeated drama and emergencies posted by people who are in the habit of self-injury are not good for the community, the staff, or the person.
 
The following applies to EXTREME CASES where such emergencies happen over and over. With great regret, we will have to ask the person to leave the site. These people have received many informal and formal warnings. If you have not received such warnings from the staff, you are not the object of this policy.

 

The new policy additions are in green:
 

What will get you banned right away
- Spamming the site with commercial messages or posts in which you are promoting something that brings profit to you. (You may mention your site, blog, or book in your signature.)

- Attacking a moderator or administrator in a topic, including rudeness, sarcasm, and talking back. This undermines the community and will not be tolerated. This site cannot be all things to all members. You'll have to trust the staff's decisions.
 
If you disagree with a member of the staff, the appropriate action is to open a polite dialog in a personal message. Haranguing or grandstanding about a staff decision in public is uncivil, disrespectful, and will not be tolerated.


- Aggressively promoting or defending psychiatry, or ridiculing the concept of withdrawal syndrome. This upsets the members, who have experienced injury from psychiatrists and psychiatric medications.

- Having multiple identities, playing manipulative games, and not being a candid, sincere contributor to the community. This also applies to trolls. If anyone thinks another member is a troll, please pm me or let me know in e-mail.

- Registering with a phony e-mail. The admin gets the bounce messages. You can't get away with this.
 
- Asking for support for many self-generated emergencies. While we are sympathetic to people in distress, we're only a peer support site and we cannot do anything for people who are in the habit of self-harming in any way, be it via alcohol, risky or antisocial behavior, or irresponsible use of drugs.
 
If you find you are somehow involved in frequent emergencies, please seek face-to-face counseling. As emergencies can be upsetting to other members of the community, if you frequently report emergencies that you might have avoided, you will be asked to leave -- your needs are beyond the capabilities of online peer support.
 
(If your life is currently chaotic, this would be a very bad time to go off psychiatric drugs. Withdrawal symptoms may very well add to the complications in your life. Not being able to focus on careful tapering can be dangerous.)


I apologize it has taken me so long to codify this into a site policy. It is something I did not want to do. I deeply regret that there are some people we cannot support here.

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In order to heal, a person needs to reduce their drama, not fan the flames.

 

In order to come off their psych drugs, we need to be capable of staying out of hospital, of presenting well at the doctors, and not creating catastrophic dramas in our lives on a regular basis.

 

To be successful, it helps immensely to have face-to-face personal support, a practice which regulates mood, emotion, and rumination, and the inner discipline to hold still and listen to their body in order to heal.

 

Self destructive behaviours are counter to all of these, and are a strong indication that the person is not ready to taper off their drugs.  This strong indication actually points to danger for these persons to come off their drugs until the issues of support, stillness, and self-regulation are in place.  

 

I do believe in "mental and emotional diversity" - all people have a right to their thoughts and feelings, they don't need to conform to any expectations. 

 

However, the purpose of this site is specifically to help people come off of their drugs.  If their behaviour indicates to the experienced moderators (who read hundreds of stories) that an individual is a dangerous risk for a taper protocol, then that person does not really belong on this site.  They need face to face help to deal with the barriers that stand between them and healing.

 

I believe we extend caring courtesy to every member here - but after time, when we see that a person's journey is endangering themselves, we cannot in good conscience recommend tapering, until that member has found a way to deal with the realities of their day-to-day life.  We are, as much as we care, disembodied voices on the web.  I would hate to be the one responsible for recommending a taper to anyone who so obviously is not prepared for it.

 

Good neighbors keep good fences.  Sometimes these fences are instructive, and many people will not learn until they strike bottom.  I know I was like that.  It hurts to be excluded, I get that.  It hurts to be warned.  But it also agonizes the moderator who does the warning.  

 

I never cease to be amazed at what Alto has built here.  Every other web forum I've been on has disintegrated into bickering and drama, factions and even net-wars.  Because of the way Alto trains the moderators, because of the collective experience of the moderators, because of the fences Alto builds to keep the site as clean and usable as possible - this must be the most amazing support website I've ever seen.  I respect her fences and choices; she agonizes more than any of us know, trying to keep this a safe, supportive, and helpful place.

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QUOTE:  this must be the most amazing support website

 

I'm not really familiar with other web forums, but I do agree wholeheartedly with this comment.

 

To Alto and staff, your hard work is very much appreciated.

 

Please take care of yourselves and your own needs.

 

Best wishes to you all.

 

CC

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Good heavens, thank you, JanCarol and ChessieCat.

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So nice!

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One thing that I hold onto during times where you feel caught up in your emotions and start catastrophising...

 

Watch your thoughts pass by and know they are not who you are..

 

Our thoughts are so influenced by lack of sleep, hunger, many external factors, they are not 'you' essentially 'you' are the space between thoughts and physical being...

 

I try to remember this. This week I had a massive irreconcilable falling out with my best friend of 40 years, it's a long story but she was also lending me her wedding dress for my wedding..now I don't have one and I get married in 2 weeks and I don't have the financial ability to go it and buy one...so I had a melt down...a full meltdown...sobbing in the car..half an hour before my next appointment...I phoned my fiancé and he talked me down. On reflection it's possibly the best thing that has happened for me. She has a lot of drama in her life and as her best friend I get caught up in it. I have my own internal dramas to deal with as well and felt emotionally exhausted. Once I stepped back from the situation I realised, whilst it's painful, the world really does conspire to give you better things, you have to allow it to happen.

 

I understand drama, when you are caught up in it it's all absorbing, but it is important once the first histrionics are over to ground yourself. Step back and take stock. Remind yourself that they are thoughts. I'm not saying it's easy but I wholeheartedly agree that buying into drama, yours, others, is destroying your journey to wellness.

 

Peace x

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Thank you, ArtSet. And congratulations on your upcoming wedding. While you may grieve the falling-out with your friend, you have a new life ahead of you.

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I think this is a great thread, and I think Dalsaan's original post was excellent. It was helpful to me in seeing a new way of looking at things. I can use his/her ideas in my daily life.

 

However, I would like to comment along the lines that Pug did. I am new to this site, so I have little experience of the administrators/moderators' ideas.

 

I do think that people need to be allowed to express how they are really feeling. If not here, where? The situation of many of us in withdrawal and/or suffering from depression or anxiety is dramatic. (And the greater world does not usually accept our suffering as real.) It can literally make one not want to live. But help is available here.

 

I do think we have to be careful to let people know they can express their real feelings. AND, I think the idea of avoiding our own and other people's drama can be helpful.

 

For example, from my own life: My husband spends an enormous amount of his time and energy attempting to make my life better. A lot of it is done by listening to me when I need it; this works for me, and it is helpful to him to know what is going on. Talking honestly has greatly contributed to our wonderful relationship.

 

But I know that exposing him to my negative emotions can be overdone. When it happens, I immediately try to find a way to look at life more positively, or to find something positive we can do that would improve our life.

 

I think their are two sides to this idea of drama and what to do with it.

 

It is really helpful when members come back and post about their improvements. Also, as a new member, many of the posts say so little about misery, I wonder if they are on the same planet as me.

 

This is a good site. People communicate with each other here. And it is a place away from the dishonesty of much of the medical community about mental health and prescription drugs. Honesty is a great thing.

 

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That's a good point, january.

 

In this community, we strive to strike a balance between the freedom to express feelings and overall tone of the site.

 

Everyone who comes here has troubles. As we know each other only through our posts, we do not judge whether one person's suffering is greater than any else's. Almost universally, people who come here are not having an easy time of going off drugs, or they wouldn't be looking for this site.

 

However, on the Internet, it's possible for one person, through their own frequent self-expression, to change the environment for everyone. Asking for attention is one thing, demanding it is another, and as inappropriate online as it is in person.

 

It is indeed possible to "act out" online in ways that are destructive to yourself and destructive for the group. Not incidentally, this creates a lot of work and stress for the moderators.

 

Because this is an online support group, some people come here with outsized needs for emotional support well beyond tapering and expectations that we can satisfy those needs. We cannot provide support to that extent, we don't have the staff or training.

 

To "unpatient" yourself and go off psychiatric drugs safely, you must take responsibility for your actions. This not only means measuring your dosage and keeping a schedule, it means behaving responsibly in this community.

 

If a person insists on repeatedly creating self-destructive drama on this site, regretfully, we will not be able to continue to host that person here, even if that person is in great emotional pain. Face-to-face support is required in those situations. Continuing online drama is injurious to the community.

 

If your life is constantly in crisis, it's not a good idea to go off psychiatric drugs as that probably will make it worse for you. Sadly, we here on this site cannot help you solve your personal problems to get you in a position of stability where you can undertake the complex process of tapering. This is something you will need to do yourself, either by seeking face-to-face counseling or therapeutic support elsewhere.

 

I hope this clarifies the site policy in these situations.

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As someone "guilty" of "catastrophising"....I can attest to the fact that it only makes you sicker and delays recovery.

 

This is why the SA staff feel so strongly about minimising those behaviours here.

 

I start CBT for health anxiety next week.

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HI

this is a great topic ,very true from my experience.

If i didint start learning about mindfullness a few years ago ide hate to think were i would be because of drama,its like a spell cast on u, how it sucks u in .

 

I am very gaurded now ,i spend alot of time alone and i love it, espeically going off for hikes and walks even when I don't want to move. I have never regretted going out. Even when a simple bird flying out of a ditch frightening me,[extreme anxiety] 

 

When I get trough withdrawal its something I will practice forever. The amount of time wasted on gossip and drama is astonishing .

 

mindfulness is amazing totally recommend it. I use it constantly ,my brain never stops and it helps me to be calm around people and situation's that are stressful .

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Hi All,
 
This thread has niggled at me for several days - something just didn't sit right with me. I have tried to unravel and explain as best I can in the following post.
 
I perceive that the use of the word 'drama' is neither helpful or accurate in describing behaviours that occur on this site. I believe that trauma is a much more accurate definition of the origin of behaviour here. Language needs to be used very carefully to convey meaning with clarity, especially within groups where language and cultural diversity is present, as is the case here. 
 
The way we frame our language in interactions with others here is critical as we have no verbal cues or intonation to work with through this medium. Interpretation of communication is at least 70% non verbal.
 
If we look at the definition of the word drama v's trauma, there is distinct difference in value (judgement) associated with each term:
 
Definition of drama in English:
noun
 
1A play for theatre, radio, or television:
a gritty urban drama about growing up in Harlem
 
1.1 [MASS NOUN] Plays as a genre or style of literature:
Renaissance drama
 
1.2 [MASS NOUN] The activity of acting:
teachers who use drama are working in partnership with pupils
 
2 An exciting, emotional, or unexpected event or circumstance:
a hostage drama
 
Phrases
 
make a drama out of
1
informal Exaggerate the importance of (a minor problem or incident):
Gwyneth makes such a drama out of things
 
Origin
 
Early 16th century: via late Latin from Greek drama, from dran 'do, act'. Source also of drastic (late 17th century). The Latin dramatis personae has been used since the mid 18th century for a list of the characters in a play.
 
SYNONYMS
acting, the theatre, the stage, the performing arts, dramatic art, dramatics, dramaturgy, stagecraft, theatricals, theatrics, the thespian art, show business;
performing, performance, playing a role, appearing on stage, informal the boards, treading the boards, show biz, rare thespianism, histrionics.
 
ANTONYMS
Farce, joke, compression, firmness, jesting, tightness, humor, comedy, funniness, pleasantry, slapstick.
 
Definition of trauma in English:
 
1 A deeply distressing or disturbing experience:
a personal trauma like the death of a child
[MASS NOUN]: many experience the trauma of divorce
 
1.1 [MASS NOUN] Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may lead to long-term neurosis:
the event is relived with all the accompanying trauma
 
2 [MASS NOUN] Medicine Physical injury:
rupture of the diaphragm caused by blunt trauma
 
Origin
 
Late 17th century: from Greek, literally 'wound'. This is an English use of a Greek word meaning literally ‘wound’. It was transferred to the notion of a ‘mental wound’ in the late 19th century.
 
SYNONYMS
shock, upheaval, distress, stress, strain, pain, anguish, suffering, upset, agony, misery, sorrow, grief, heartache, heartbreak, torture;
disturbance, disorder, jolt, ordeal, trial, tribulation, trouble, worry, anxiety, burden, adversity, hardship, nightmare
 
ANTONYMS
benefit, blessing, comfort, contentment, favor, happiness, health, joy, calm, order, peace, alleviation, healing, help, relief.
 
(The Oxford English Dictionary; Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition).
 
I believe that the moderators on this site do an amazing job. I have had nothing but positive interactions on every occasion. I have always appreciated the diversity of their characters, experiences and the range of knowledge, personal skills and qualities that add so much value to this site. Moderating a site like this is a particularly difficult task, that the moderators negotiate brilliantly in the light that, they too have their own hardships and struggles ongoing as part of their own withdrawal process.
 
Most people arrive at this site in a frazzled state regardless of the diversity of their background and experiences. Some have a history of abuse and trauma that led them to take these drugs in the first place. We all have the trauma induced by the taking and withdrawing of these drugs, which is complex and involves loss on many levels and growth that needs to take place as a consequence.
 
There are a lot of psycho social theories that explain relationship dynamics. Such theories can be useful, but also harmful if applied incorrectly to traumatised people in crisis, who may receive this information as criticism, which further impacts, isolates and harms. The uncovering and healing of trauma and maladaptive dynamics is a complex and lengthy process that cannot be rushed, especially in withdrawal when crises will arise with some frequency.
 
One of the best therapists I knew was very reluctant to work on unraveling trauma with anyone on psychoactive medication. She believed this disadvantaged them within the process as much anyone who had a street drug addiction, with all of the chaotic behaviour associated with it. I understand this viewpoint now better than I ever did.
 
We are all uniquely different. Effective therapeutic modalities (if applicable at all) and catalysts for growth and behaviour change will be different for everyone. Some will be ready to undertake changes much quicker than others and all will progress at different rates. Some have advantages over others in terms of education, social background, economic background, access to support and heath care and emotional intelligence.
 
People who have experienced trauma on many levels throughout their life do not have a solid foundation on which to build progress and sustain it as many people do. It has to be learned / built from scratch. It takes much longer for such people, who may not be comprehended or tolerated well as a consequence. Such people are often very isolated and need support systems to access.
 
These differences in our experiences, starting points and susceptibility to change are important to acknowledge.
 
That said, I do not believe in colluding with people in behaviour that hurts them. I believe that as a community, we are a great source of knowledge and empowerment for others. I believe that the fact that people have somewhere like this site to be heard after numerous years of not being heard / being denied by GPs and psychiatrists is vital to growth.
 
We are all here to undertake healing and self care has to be of paramount concern for each and every one of us. Developing honest and healthy relationships here can facilitate this greatly. For those who are struggling or are getting stuck in this process, we can offer an example / lead by example of what is possible through our own stories and progress . We can also offer acceptance of their struggle as they perceive it to be (no one has the right to deny the experience of any other human being, in my opinion) and the compassion that we all need to feel as humans.
 
These are my thoughts on this matter. I felt the need to express them, after much consideration.
 
As always, I wish healing to all.
 
Tilly.

 

 

Hi tilly I only came across this , I must say great post and a very well worded ,u make a great point .

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